If one neighbor must pay more than others due to either age or race, is that discrimination?

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If one neighbor must pay more than others due to either age or race, is that discrimination?

An elderly friend’s rent is being raised to $410 per month to renew a 6 month or 1 year lease on her roadside view apartment (that advertises for $373 per mo.) Yet her across-the-hall neighbor, who is in what should be a more expensive location (courtyard view) is paying only $365 on a month-to-month renewal. The courtyard view apartment advertises for $422 per month. I suspect my friend is being discriminated against either because she is elderly or because of her race (she is from India.) She has never caused any trouble at the apartment complex. Does she have any recourse?

Asked on March 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your friend should consult with a civil rights or housing attorney (or, if she cannot afford one, she should contract Legal Services--they provide legal assistance to those who cannot affored it). She may have a cause of action; certain forms of discrimination, such as racial discrimination or some age discrimination (though it's ok for "active adult" communities and the like to not rent to those who are too young) are prohibited by law. If there is no good, non-discriminatory explanation for her treatment, it may be illegal discrimination, and she may have a legal claim.


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